If you’re wondering how to create a virtual tip jar, you’ve come to the right place.
As an online content creator, you probably spend a lot of energy trying to craft quality content for your audience. And if you want to monetize your content, the good news is that most of the time, people are happy to show their appreciation for valuable content by tipping.
But how exactly do you set up a virtual tip jar? Do you need a special platform? And how can you tastefully encourage your readers or followers to tip you?
📚 We’ll answer all these questions and more in our detailed guide below.
What type of content can you add a virtual tip jar to?
Before we give you our step-by-step tutorial, we first need to clarify a crucial question: can all content creators use virtual tip jars?
The answer to this is yes. All different types of content creators can make money by including tip jars on their platforms. Most of the time, your audience will first consume your content and then tip you afterward.
👉 For example:
- If you’re a blogger, your subscribers may first read your blog and then tip you afterward.
- If you’re a musician, band, or DJ who regularly streams, you can integrate your tip jar through your live-streaming platform. Your fans can then show their appreciation and tip you during or after your performance.
- If you’re a podcaster, you can include a virtual tip jar on your hosting platform and offer your loyal listeners an opportunity to contribute and support the production.
- If you’re a video content creator on platforms like YouTube, Vimeo, or Twitch, you can integrate a virtual tip jar into your videos and allow your audience to support your work.
- If you’re a graphic designer, painter, or any other type of visual artist, you may integrate your tip jar on your platform, so your fans can keep supporting your work.
In addition to the above, if you host online classes or tutorials, or pretty much do anything that offers your audience some value, you can add a virtual tip jar to your website, blog, or any other online platform you use.
This is great news for content creators who like to use different spaces to reach new followers or visitors. So, if you’re a blogger with a YouTube channel and podcast where you discuss related topics, you can set up tipping jars on each platform.
How to create a virtual tip jar in four steps
As highlighted above, you can add a virtual tip jar to different platforms that are most relevant to you and your audience. However, below, we’re focusing on how to create one on a WordPress website.
- Step 1: Choose a payment gateway
- Step 2: Add a virtual tipping jar tool
- Step 3: Customize your jar
- Step 4: Promote your jar
Step 1: Choose a payment gateway 💳
Before setting up a virtual tip jar, you’ll need to select a payment gateway to process your transactions.
👉 Some of the most popular options include:
Before deciding, it’s best to research and compare the fee structures for the different options. Some charge a percentage of each tip, while others have monthly subscription fees.
Consider each platform’s pros and cons, features, and associated costs to decide which one will be best for you and your needs.
Step 2: Add a virtual tipping jar tool 🔧
In terms of plugins, there are a few options to choose from on WordPress.
One popular option is this plugin. It’s called “Accept Stripe Payments“, and its user-friendly nature makes it ideal for most people, regardless of how tech-savvy they are.
In addition to using it to accept donations, it has other ecommerce-related features, such as inventory management, tax calculations, and shipping.
To install this plugin, start from your dashboard and then navigate to Plugins > Add New.
From here, search for Stripe Payments. Once you’ve found the plugin, click Install Now.
After installing and activating your plugin, you’ll need to navigate to its settings. The plugin will guide you through the default pages you’ll need to set up for your website, email, captcha, and other advanced settings.
Once you’re done, this guide will help you add your Stripe API Keys. This is essential as it links your plugin to your Stripe payment account. After completing this step, you can begin accepting payments.
👉 There are many other plugins that allow you to accept virtual tips. You can also check out the following options and make comparisons:
Step 3: Customize your jar 🖱️
There are different ways in which you can display your virtual tip jar. For many websites, a common approach is to have a generic image of a tip jar. They may also include the dollar sign. For anyone visiting, this makes it clear that you are open to tips.
Another popular tool you might have seen is the Buy Me a Coffee plugin.
Coffee is a common drink that can be enjoyed with friends. Displaying a message like “Buy me a coffee” can be a great way to make your subscribers feel like they are just buying their friend (that’s you) a cup of coffee. This is a friendly and subtle way of evoking emotion and creating a connection with whoever will be tipping you.
The customization options will largely depend on what plugin you choose and the tool’s features. But generally speaking, try to customize your tip jar with your logo and colors. This will help to reinforce your brand identity.
Another option is to guide your subscribers about how much they can give you. This can be helpful for indecisive people who won’t be sure how much to tip you.
For example, you can give them four options: $5, $10, $15, or “more,” where they can tip you as much as they want.
Step 4: Promote your jar 📢
Promoting your virtual tip jar is essential because it raises awareness amongst your subscribers and encourages them to support your work financially.
There is no hard set rule about where you can or can’t place your jar. But what we’ve often seen from other creators is that you can place your jar:
- At the bottom of your blog posts. This is a convenient place because your subscriber may have just read your post and may want to thank you right away.
- On your most important pages. For example, you might have a landing page that gets many views. This is a great page to place a tip jar, instead of placing it on a random page with few views.
- Next to your free content. As a blogger, you might create free content, such as a blog launch checklist. Placing your tip jar next to your free content allows your audience the opportunity to thank you for the content if they wish to.
- In your social media bios. Bloggers are often promoting their content on multiple social media platforms. Placing a link to the tip jar from your Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or any other account, is a convenient way to remind followers that you’re accepting tips.
- At the bottom of your emails. When you’ve just sent an email that offers value, this is a way to give your subscribers an opportunity to thank you.
💡 Remember that consistent promotion can help enhance the success of your virtual tip jar by creating awareness, driving engagement, and creating a supportive community around your content.
Start your virtual tip jar today 🎬
You’ve now learned the ins and outs of creating a virtual tip jar. This is an exciting new way to monetize your blog, and the good news is that as long as you have a good relationship with your audience, and you keep providing them with quality content, they’ll be happy to tip you.
Before getting started, remember to choose the right platform that will process your transactions and also choose a good plugin.
After setting up your virtual tip jar, don’t forget the power of promotion – spread the word about your it on your website, social media, and email accounts. Keep reminding your community that you’re open for tips.
Now that you’ve learned how to create a virtual tip jar, you may want to consider reading our comprehensive guide on how to make money blogging or our comparison of the best free blogging platforms that you can use to make money.